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English

If you love to read and write, a major in English literature gives you a chance to do both.

English professor Mara Amster leads a discussion group

Why Study English at Randolph?

Character and motivation, relationships between people, ethical problems, history, cultural conflict—literature gives you a chance to study all these and more.

Courses in fiction, poetry, and drama help you to develop your ability to think deeply and carefully and to express yourself effectively. If you need an outlet to express your ideas and explore emotions, the creative writing program will help you do this.

After you graduate, you may find yourself getting paid to do what many people can’t—communicate well.

English literature and creative writing at Randolph College teach you the power of words.

Degrees offered

Bachelor of Arts Degree in English (Literature)

Bachelor of Arts Degree in English (Creative Writing)

Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree in English (Creative Writing)

Master of Fine Arts Degree in English (Creative Writing)

Minor in English

Minor in Editing

Curriculum and Courses

Related Programs

Media and Culture Studies

Theatre

The Randolph Experience

Senior Seminar
Required of all English majors, the Senior Seminar allows students to develop critical perspectives in literature by increasing understanding of key concepts such as genre, period, school, and critical approach.

Student Publications

  • Hail Muse, Etc.! (campus literary magazine)
  • Sundial (student newspaper)
  • The Jack (journal of academic writing)

Internships
Randolph students gain real world experience through required off-campus internships in a variety of fields, disciplines, and industries.  

English majors have interned at 

  • Randolph College’s Maier Museum of Art (curatorial intern),
  • Prototype Advertising (literary intern),
  • Lynchburg’s Academy of Fine Arts (marketing intern),
  • Dublin, Ireland’s Trinity College (international programs intern) and
  • the Obama Campaign for Change (political intern).

Small Classes
Randolph professors offer unique, engaging courses on topics like food and social justice, labor, banking, and international economics, which often take students outside the classroom.

Intercultural Competence
All Randolph students learn global citizenship with the capability to accurately understand and adapt to cultural differences and find commonality.

Outcomes
Randolph students are prepared for success and find careers in industry, government, and service, as well as acceptance into top graduate schools.

Unique Experiences

Visiting Writers

Visiting writer and former MFA faculty member Wayétu Moore.
Visiting writer and former MFA faculty member Wayétu Moore.

In addition to classroom instruction, Randolph students learn about the craft of writing from working writers.

The Visiting Writers program brings professional writers to campus throughout the academic year. Coming from a variety of backgrounds and genres (fiction, non-fiction, poetry, journalism, play writing, etc.), Visiting Writers conduct workshops, visit classes, give public and private readings, and conduct book signing sessions.

Students have direct contact with writers in an open environment where no question is off limits.

Visiting writers over the years have included Margaret Atwood, Charles Baxter, Ann Beattie, Molly McCully Brown, Stephanie Burt, Eduardo C. Corral, Natalie Diaz, Camille Dungy, Claudia Emerson, Kaitlyn Greenidge, Allison Hedge Coke, Mira Jacob, Maxine Kumin, Maxine Hong Kingston, Shara Lessley, “Mc” McIlvoy, Wayetu Moore, Pattiann Rogers, Ira Sadoff, Mark Haskell Smith, Patricia Smith, Sue William Silverman, Peter Taylor, Ellen Bryant Voigt, Eudora Welty, Richard Wilbur, Christian Wiman, and many others.

Opportunities

Top Ranked Professors

Randolph College’s faculty are consistently recognized as among the best in the nation. The Princeton Review ranked the College in the Top 20 for most accessible professors in the 2021 edition of its flagship college guide, The Best 387 Colleges.

Randolph has been ranked in the top 20 for most accessible professors for four consecutive years.

English Faculty

Mara Amster

Professor of English

Read More... Mara Amster

Gary Dop

Associate Professor of English, Director of the Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing program

Read More... Gary Dop

Heidi Kunz

Professor of English

Read More... Heidi Kunz

Laura-Gray Street

Associate Professor of English

Read More... Laura-Gray Street

Only at Randolph

Randolph students can take advantage of unique programs which give them a more enriching education than can be found anywhere else.

The Randolph Plan

Randolph students work with faculty mentors to explore a broad range of disciplines as they chart their academic path.

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TAKE 2

Two courses per half-mester means you get to focus in and dig deep into your coursework while still having time for the rest of the college experience. Two classes. Seven weeks. Repeat.

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Money for Your Research

The Randolph Innovative Student Experience (RISE) program provides every student a $2,000 grant to fund research, creative work, experiential learning or other scholarly pursuits.

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The Liberal Arts Advantage

Randolph graduates learn to think critically, solve problems and work well with others. They are prepared to succeed in all aspects of life.

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Department News

Evan Pausic ’21 awarded annual Academy of American Poets prize

Since its inception in 1955, the University and College Poetry Prize program has awarded cash prizes to nearly 10,000 student […]

Read More

Randolph announces 2020-21 Academic & Leadership Awards

2020-21 award winners

Read More

Randolph Together: Professors take online learning to a new level with creative ways to engage students

“I see our faculty’s response as not an isolated reaction to our current circumstance, but an extreme example of qualities that have long been strengths of the Randolph College faculty, like accessibility, student-centeredness, and empathy,” said Provost Carl Girelli. “Our faculty have met the shift to remote learning as a challenge and an opportunity to gain and share skills, many of which will enrich the academic experience beyond this moment of crisis.”

Read More

Evan Pausic ’21 awarded annual Academy of American Poets prize

Since its inception in 1955, the University and College Poetry Prize program has awarded cash prizes to nearly 10,000 student […]

Read More

Randolph announces 2020-21 Academic & Leadership Awards

2020-21 award winners

Read More

Randolph Together: Professors take online learning to a new level with creative ways to engage students

“I see our faculty’s response as not an isolated reaction to our current circumstance, but an extreme example of qualities that have long been strengths of the Randolph College faculty, like accessibility, student-centeredness, and empathy,” said Provost Carl Girelli. “Our faculty have met the shift to remote learning as a challenge and an opportunity to gain and share skills, many of which will enrich the academic experience beyond this moment of crisis.”

Read More
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Department Chair

Mara Amster

Professor of English

Credentials:B.A., Duke University
M.A., University of Virginia
Ph.D., University of Rochester
Associated Departments:English
Office:Smith 406
Phone:4349478514
Email:mamster@randolphcollege.edu

News Headlines

While I teach Shakespeare, Renaissance Drama, Women Writers, and the first half of the British Literature survey, I think I am famous (infamous, perhaps?) for my Renaissance Literature class, subtitled “Unruly Women.” In this upper-level course, we examine a wealth of writing (drama, poetry, medical treatises, legal documents, royal proclamations, and sermons) that concerns itself with the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries most unruly women: prostitutes, murderesses, witches, and virgins. The class, based on my own scholarly research on female sexuality, gendered representations, and Renaissance literature and culture, allows us to make connections between life in the 21st century and life in the 17th century; the concerns that preoccupied and even obsessed our Renaissance writers — the bodies, minds, and souls of women — often sound quite familiar to us.

In all my classes, students discover that while Renaissance writing may seem dated, it still has the power to shock, fascinate, amuse, and disturb us. It can be silly, scary, or sexy, or sometimes all three simultaneously.

In 2005-06 I was a Visiting Research Associate at the Women’s Studies Research Center at Brandeis University. While there I completed work on a two-volume anthology – Texts on Prostitution, 1592-1633 and Texts on Prostitution, 1635-1700 – that was published in February 2007. Currently I am working on The Purchase of Pleasure: Representing Prostitution and the Early Modern Market, a book that examines seventeenth-century representations of prostitution and its relationship to pleasure, performance, pornography, and profit.

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Gary Dop

Associate Professor of English, Director of the Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing program

Credentials:B.S., North Central University, Minneapolis
M.A., University of Nebraska at Kearney
M.F.A., University of Nebraska
Associated Departments:English
Email:gdop@randolphcollege.edu
Website:https://www.garydop.com

News Headlines

Gary Dop – poet, playwright, and performer – began teaching at Randolph in 2013, when he moved from Minneapolis with his wife and three daughters. His first collection of poems Father, Child, Water (Red Hen Press 2015), sold out of its first print run of 1000 copies in only two months, and Gary enjoys regularly presenting his work throughout the country.

Gary’s writing has appeared in many national literary journals, including Prairie Schooner, New Letters, Agni, North American Review, Blackbird, Rattle, Poetry Northwest, and the Poetry Foundation’s column American Life in Poetry. His essays and poems have been heard on public radio’s All Things Considered through American Public Media. He has written, directed, and consulted for video and film projects, and his plays have been produced in small venues around the country.

In 2013, Gary was awarded the Great Plains Emerging Writer Award, and in 2011 The Pushcart Prize Anthology highlighted his poetry with a Special Mention. In 2009, Dop was one of five poets to qualify for the top rated performance poetry team in the country.

Before coming to Randolph, Gary was the writer in residence at North Central University, and he taught screenwriting in the University of Minnesota’s MFA program.

Gary is on the editorial board of Spark Wheel Press, and prior to moving to Lynchburg, he served on the board of Rain Taxi Review of Books, an organization he still helps each year with the Twin Cities Book Festival. For fun, he leads workshops for schools and community organizations, and he enjoys acting, emceeing, and comedy.

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Heidi Kunz

Professor of English

Credentials:B.A., College of William and Mary
M.A., Vanderbilt University
Ph.D., Vanderbilt University
Associated Departments:English
Office:Smith 405
Phone:4349478507
Email:hkunz@randolphcollege.edu

At Randolph College I teach the written expression of the United States, interdisciplinary studies, and transnational studies of the sea and of science in literature.

Beyond the classroom, I recently directed the Tenth International F. Scott Fitzgerald Conference (Baltimore, 2009), and currently serve on Board of Directors of the F. Scott Fitzgerald Society as well as the Editorial Board of the F. Scott Fitzgerald Review. As a scholar I tend to “follow my bliss” wherever the footnotes lead: when a great book drops a name, that name often leads off the page and into fascinating episodes of cultural history. My publications in 2012, for example, examine Nathaniel Hawthorne’s reaction to the celebrity of astronomer Maria Mitchell, the first American to discover a telescopic comet (in 1847); the impact on Fitzgerald of early “physical culturist” Bernarr McFadden, whose exercise demonstrations earned him multiple arrests for public indecency yet whose relationship advice tracts sold by the millions; the opinions Edith Wharton held of her own writing; and the singular achievement of Southern novelist Augusta Jane Evans, the best-selling nineteenth-century writer whose passionate Confederate convictions cost her nothing in readership yet everything in literary reputation.

Certain pastimes – scouring antique shops for flint glass and phrenologists’ heads, digging with the archaeologists at Jamestown, St. Mary’s City, and St. George (Bermuda), celestial navigation – inevitably find their way into my courses.

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Laura-Gray Street

Associate Professor of English

Credentials:B.A., Hollins College
M.A., University of Virginia
M.F.A., Warren Wilson College
Associated Departments:English
Office:Smith 403
Phone:4349478727
Email:lstreet@randolphcollege.edu

News Headlines

Laura-Gray Street’s work has appeared in Many Mountains MovingThe Human Genre ProjectIsotopeGargoyleFrom the FishouseISLEShenandoahMeridianBlackbirdPoetry Daily, The Notre Dame ReviewThe Greensboro Review, and elsewhere; selected by George Garrett for Best New Poets 2005; commissioned by the New York Festival of Song; and included in Pivot Points, an exhibition of poets and painters that traveled internationally.

Street has received a Poetry Fellowship from the Virginia Commission for the Arts, the Editors’ Prize in Poetry from Isotope, the Emerging Writer in Poetry Award for the Southern Women Writers Conference, the Dana Award in Poetry, and The Greensboro Review’s Annual Literary Award in Poetry, and fellowships at the VCCA and the Artist House at St. Mary’s College in Maryland.

She is co-editing an anthology of ecopoetry that is forthcoming from Trinity University Press, and her poetry collection Rung was short listed for the 2009 Benjamin Saltman Award with Red Hen Press. Street has an MA in English from the University of Virginia and an MFA in poetry from Warren Wilson’s Program for Writers.

Street also teaches in the Environmental Studies Department and serves on the board of two local environmental groups, the Greater Lynchburg Environmental Network (GLEN) and the Central Virginia Land Conservancy (CVaLC).

Some of her work can be read at…

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